What Is Asset Protection?
At the Bluestein Law Firm, we view asset protection as developing strategies to make it more difficult for creditors to get to assets and to reduce the risk of bad decisions affecting assets. No strategy is 100% guaranteed to protect; however, there are many strategies we can use to put the owner of an asset, the grantor, or the beneficiary of a trust in much better legal position to protect the asset.
Asset Protection Is a Scale of Options
Asset protection is a spectrum ranging from little or no protection, to basic strategies, to more advanced strategies. We can think of asset protection in terms of a house. A house with open windows and doors leaves its contents open to the elements and unwanted visitors. If we close and lock the windows and doors, it becomes a little better at providing some protection. Next, we might add bars on the windows or a fence. Eventually, as we keep adding on, we may end up with a strong house surrounded by a twenty-foot stone wall and a moat full of alligators. This would deter all but the most determined attackers, but the house and the living experience would be quite different from where we started out.
Asset protection strategies work in much the same way. We may start with an account or asset titled in an individual’s name. Depending on the needs of the individual, they may move the asset to a spouses’ name. They may put it in a business. They may give the asset to a child or even a third party, or they may put the asset in a trust. Depending on the goals and the willingness of the individual to give up control or ownership of the asset, these various strategies can provide different amounts of protection.
Understanding the Goals of Our Clients
The key to asset protection is understanding what our clients want to accomplish and what changes they are willing to make to accomplish those goals. We can then develop a strategy to meet our clients’ needs and accomplish their goals.
Contact us to get started with your estate plan.